There’s a certain type of person who thrives on making even the simplest request into a huge complicated mess. For instance, if I ask for something, instead of giving me a Yes or No answer, they’ll provide additional options that, in their view, are so much better than whatever I originally wanted. Like, say I ask for a glass of water. They’ll tell me: “Are you sure you’d like water? Because orange juice quenches your thirst AND supplies your daily requirement of vitamin C.”
Because I’m well-mannered, I don’t stare at them for a long while and say what I’m really thinking: “Yes, I’m an adult and I can make this simple decision without your condescendingly helpful suggestions, so give me some fuckin’ water already, please.” No, instead, I’ll say, “Thank you, but plain water will do, please.”
To which they’ll answer, “Well, let me tell you the other options first. I have diet soda, Coke, Pepsi, even. Oooh, I have this nifty Italian lemonade with a little added fizz. Actually, wouldn’t you rather have a little booze? How about a mojito? I make one mean mojito, I tell you whut.”
“Oh, you don’t have any water, is that it?” By this point, I’m so parched that my tongue is beginning to swell and the words are indistinct.
“Well,” they’ll sigh. “We do, but,” – because there’s always a “but” with these fuckers – “I can’t give it to you now because I need to crush the ice and our Magic Bullet isn’t working very well on account of it being –”
“–You don’t need to crush the ice. Regular cubes are fine.”
They wrinkle their noses. “No, really, we cannot possibly serve you average ice cubes!” (Of course not, you diabolical control-freak, because giving someone what they actually want would mean a loss of control that you cannot possibly abide.) “What kind of host would that make me?”
“Seriously, I need to drink some water now. Please.” There’s an edge in my tone. I can hear it.
“Well, I didn’t know you were so demanding!”
“Sorry, but it’s really hot.”
“Ja wohl!” They click their heels. “Is our air conditioner not up to par, madame? Should we summon the eunuchs to fan you?”
“You know what? I’m going to go.”
“What?! But you just got here!”
But I don’t make it out the door. I’m too busy fainting. As I come to, instead of being resuscitated with a tall glass of H2O, I’m offered an oxygen mask by the two burly EMTs standing over me.
“She’ll be fine,” one of the EMTs says. “I think she’s just suffering from dehydration. A little water and she’ll be fine.”
My hosts peer down at me with genuine alarm. “Don’t you think orange juice would be better?”